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Soldiers Deserve More Than Condolences

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Today we mourn the loss of three Canadian soldiers killed yesterday afternoon by an improvised explosive device in the Arghandab district northwest of Kandahar city....

These brave soldiers worked tirelessly to help bring safety and security to Afghanistan. Their dedication and sacrifice will not be forgotten. Canadians are indebted to them for their service to our country....

We commend all of our military families for the sacrifices they continue to make to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and the region.

The above is from a Liberal Party of Canada press release on March 4 regarding yet more Canadian deaths in Afghanistan. What a bunch of hogwash.

There is no doubt that the soldiers were brave and working hard, and probably believed it was for the purpose stated, but the truth is that they were sacrificed by their country in an unnecessary war started by the United States that neither Canada nor any of its allies has any good reason to be fighting. A war that to date has claimed the lives of 112 Canadian soldiers, and who knows how many more destroyed by wounds, both physical and mental.

As for peace and stability in Afghanistan, I wonder how the thousands of Afghans feel about this foreign aggression that has ended or damaged the lives of thousands, men, women and children? According to an article in The Christian Science Monitor on March 2, many in Afghanistan oppose allied plans to increase troop levels in the country and increase the violence. Even members of Afghanistan's American dominated puppet government are opposing more foreign troops.

One wonders whether the Liberals, who involved Canada in this mess in the first place, still don't get it, or whether there is some unstated reason they prefer to see our national treasure and lives of our troopers poured down this rat hole?

One must also wonder about the current Conservative government. Even Prime Minister Harper has publically admitted that we can never win the war in Afghanistan. So why are we still dying there, Mr. Harper? Why wait for 2011 when Parliament has set the date for withdrawing?

Twenty years ago the Soviets fled Afghanistan after nine years of war and the sacrifice of about 15,000 soldiers. Today we are over seven years into our Afghan war, facing a growing enemy in a place that has a history of devouring foreign invaders. As troop numbers are increased and operations expanded, so will the casualty rate rise. More brave men and women will have their lives and the lives of their families damaged or destroyed for naught until someone finally has the common sense to say enough and pull the plug.

President Obama is compounding the folly in Afghanistan by committing more troops, and no doubt pressure will be put on Canada to continue its presence, if not increase its commitment. Robert Gates, US Secretary of Defense recently said that it was too early to set a date for ending the Afghan war, and France's Defense Minister, Hervé Morin, said that France would stay as long as necessary. Maybe they are setting their eye on breaking the Soviet record.

There is no shortage of criticism of this war from senior military officers and various think tanks. From lack of intelligence sharing to lack of any comprehensive strategy, to the widespread recognition that the insurgency can not be defeated militarily, it fills the press almost daily. This is not a war being well fought, nor one that serves Canada's best interest. Canadians who are dying there are doing so in vain, and they deserve better than condolent press releases.
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Jerry West grew up on a farm in California and is currently Editor and Publisher of THE RECORD newspaper in Gold River, BC. Graduate with Honors and graduate school, UC Berkeley. Member, Phi Beta Kappa. Vietnam veteran and Former Sgt. USMC
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